OK, I’m confused

Whoopi whoops

I find it odd to find myself sympathetic toward Whoopi Goldberg, but is being Jewish a race, a religion, or an ethnic group?

Antisemitism is like racism in many respects, but is there really a Jewish race?

I’ll go along with how people want to be seen, but please explain the basis for the definition?

50 thoughts on “OK, I’m confused

  1. Whatever the answer to your question, the relevant point here is that the Nazis believed it to be a race distinct from their own. So, Whoopi was wrong and her setting the record straight was appropriate.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. RE: “is there really a Jewish race?”

    I think there is, if only to the extent that geneticists can identify Jewish ancestry by DNA. Of course, once you can identify Jews by their DNA there is no need to talk about a Jewish race anymore. You can just talk about Jewish people.

    Perhaps Goldberg was trying to be “woke” but wasn’t up to the task.


  3. Here is a good starting point for understanding and discussion:


    What is even more fascinating to me is the Yiddish language. It developed around the 8th or 9th century in Europe, but evolved with Slavic influences as the Jews move east escaping persecution. As it evolved, and with the relative isolation of Jewish communities in among the European and Slavic regions, it became an international language for the Jews and helped facilitate trade and relations among the widespread communities.


    So are Jews elated via DNA. Yes and no as the link describes.

    Culture? Certainly. Religion? Yes, but I know many secular Jews who still have ties to the synagogue and also practice some of the ritual meals at holidays. Like “floral Christians”. Race? Not really except if you want to make an issue of race outside of skin color. Then it becomes a convenient slur.

    An amazing people who have accomplished huge things for all of us, yet are a tiny percentage of the world’s population. Their vilification by some is a puzzle, but considering what appears to be the intellectual firepower of the haters, it is much more of a political issue from leaders that stoke the fires. Malevolent and dangerous despots are generally looking for scapegoats to rally their followers, particularly if things go south and they need to divert the angry mobs. Jews were often convenient. Probably because they did maintain communities that isolated them from the main population and often seemed successful.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: “So are Jews related via DNA? Yes and no as the link describes.”

      No, just yes.

      That is, if a living or ancestral person has Jewish DNA, that person is Jewish. There may be living or ancestral people who are non-genetic Jews but the concept doesn’t make any sense. It would be like calling non-genetic females real females.

      Using DNA to identify Jewish people is legitimate and objective. That the test might miss a few persons who enter the Jewish DNA community culturally while lacking the genetic marker is a limitation of test-based observations that either resolves naturally in a generation or two or becomes irrelevant.


      1. The problem with “Jewish DNA” is that the religion has traditionally allowed converts. In addition, whether or not you practice, if your mother was Jewish, so are you according to tradition and culture. Which means if she married a Catholic man, the offspring would be considered Jewish.

        In addition, the diaspora has probably diluted the gene pool dramatically. Yet, as the link describes, European Jews tended to live in communities with little social interaction to the local regions’ population. So there were commonalities, though not necessarily from the Fertile Crescent.

        It is a really interesting culture.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. RE: “The problem with ‘Jewish DNA’ is that the religion has traditionally allowed converts.”

        It’s only a problem if you want to use DNA as the only test of Jewishness. On the other hand it is just as good as the “Jewish mother” test. In this sense, Jewish law has used a genetic definition of Jewishness all along.

        It is one thing to say a Jewish person can be identified by DNA (which is true, within limits). It is entirely something different to say that all Jewish people have the same DNA (which is demonstrably false).

        The existence of non-genetic Jews doesn’t complicate things in any profound way. Assuming they will seek mates from within the community of genetic Jews, their offspring will be identifiable as Jewish based on their DNA.


    1. Whoopi has a bad habit of “race” only meaning the Black race. She oopsed, and is suspended for two weeks. I believe the suspension is too long, but a needed response to her insensitive comments concerning the Holocaust. – IMO

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ok, I want to be sure I understand you correctly.

        Do you, and to your knowledge, other American Jews, regard being Jewish as a race apart from others of European ancestry?

        European Catholics, for example, do not regard themselves as being of a different race than Protestants even though they fought bloody wars for decades over their religious differences, and for centuries, did not intermarry.

        So, what is the prevailing view?


        1. See my post below, but I will elaborate on it in answer to this.

          I cannot or will not attempt to speak for others in this instance. Personally, I regard my Judaism to be racially, ethnically and religiously is who I am.

          There are many Orthodox Jews (religiously motivated) that do not allow intermarriage, even to more liberal Jews. This is not a Jewish alone phenomena.

          Ethnic battles occur throughout the world’s history. DNA availability and understanding can change perspectives.

          I cannot provide a prevailing view. It is not something that is discussed in Jewish circles, that I am aware of. We debate Torah interpretations, Talmudic expressions and who is the better baseball team. I can only tell you what I believe.


  4. I have not read the Time of Israel links that Len has posted because I just want to include my input based on my REAL LIFE experiences. (I’ll read them after to see if what I have experienced and come to believe is in line with those articles.)

    Several years ago I took the 23andMe DNA test (gifted by me kids for Father’s Day.). When the results came back I was not surprised to find that I was 49% Ashkenazi Jewish. My father’s family was from Eastern Europe (His grandparents emigrated in the late 1800’s).

    Quick definition: Ashkenazi Jews are Northern/Eastern European Jews. Sephardic Jews are Mediterranean/Southern European Jews. That is the DNA definitions, as I have learned them.

    So is Jewish a race? In my experience, yes. Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews would be classified as the ethnicities within the Jewish race. Are there people in the world who do not identify as Jewish even if their DNA says other wise? Yes. But by simple DNA understanding, it is something that an individual chooses to ignore. For whatever reason.

    But Judaism is also a religion based on the teachings of the Torah, Talmud and other works. Religion is a choice. My parents chose to raise my brother and I in those religious traditions. My wife and I raised our children to understand both Christianity and Judaism and allowed them to make their own choices based on what we, as parents, shared with them. Many people over time have converted to Judaism. Sammy Davis , Jr. comes to mind. (talk about a risk taker – Black AND Jewish in the 60″s?).

    So to answer Don’s question simply: Yes. Jewish is a race, an ethnicity, and a religion.

    Now I will go back and read the links and possibly learn a little more about myself.

    “In Maoist America the “good” people are made “gooder” through rehabilitation theater.”

    Ain’t no such animal as Maoist America, Mr. Roberts. However, people becoming more educated and informed is a good thing. Even if you don’t LIKE the FACTS that are learned.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. RE: “Ain’t no such animal as Maoist America, Mr. Roberts.”

      Of course there is, Mr. Green. The Whoopi Goldberg kerfuffle is an example.

      Her original gaffe was neither factually wrong nor intentionally disrespectful, but her peers accused her of wrong-think and wrong-speak.


          1. “Indeed, Critical Race Theory and Nazism are peas in a pod.”

            Sometimes, a kneejerk doctrinaire response deserves a little self-editing. This is an example of that.

            You criticize the Nazis in a way that matches the “race is a social construct” premise of CRT. Instead of just acknowledging that, you throw out this silly slander. Too bad.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. “You’re saying that the Nazis DIDN”T tell the . . .”

            Now you are just demonstrating that you have little understanding of what CRT says about our country. You want to find hatred where none exists.

            Liked by 1 person

        1. RE: “Actually it was factually wrong. The Jewish race exists and the Nazi’s attempted to exterminate it.”

          She said the Holocaust was “not about race.” She didn’t say there is no Jewish race. You can’t really accuse her of getting her facts wrong when the fact she is accused of saying is something she never said.


      1. I definitely think this reflects a lot more poorly on Whoopi’s peers than on her, and yes, they would have all felt comfortable in the Cultural Revolution.

        But when you make your bed in a nest of vipers, you have to expect to get bit.


          1. The suspension came down form the heads of ABC News, not the producers of the show.

            And as I stated earlier, as suspension is warranted, but not two weeks. – IMO


  5. I think it’s understandable that an American Black woman might have a more literal conception of race.

    Interesting to hear AG’s thoughts on the matter.

    Two personal anecdotes that I find thought-provoking: I have a Jewish friend who is the sort of half-practicing kind that drops his kid off at temple for his bar mitzvah classes and then goes and sits in a cafe and enjoys breakfast. I know at least his father was born Jewish because of his surname, but I think his mother was as well. Anyway, somewhere in his history was an Irish person. He is very fair skinned and constantly refers, jokingly, to his “Irish blood.”

    Another friend who is half Korean, and is very visibly Asian. During the George Floyd protests, her very Republican (white) father asked her if she considered herself a “person of color.” It had never occurred to him until that moment that his kids were anything other than white Americans.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My father’s family name was Greenfeig until the early 1940’s when my grandfather changed it so he wouldn’t be harassed as a door-to-door salesman in Ohio. On my grandmother’s side it IS Krival. But that got changed from Kryulik when her father came to the states.

      My family, going back to Eastern Europe is Jewish by Race, ethnicity and religion. No one can tell me that I am wrong. You can disagree with MY assertion of MY background. But I AM NOT WRONG.


  6. All this phony outrage over a Whoopi statement some may disagree with and laughably the Whoop caved to woke? It would appear to me that different ethnicities practiced Judaism and those ethnicities provide the DNA link so she was technically correct. If we are going to be outraged, why don’t we do away with “white” as it is technically wrong and punish those who use that awful characterization. Rolling eyes


    1. …”those ethnicities provide the DNA link so she was technically correct.”

      Wrong wrong wrong.

      You apparently did not read Len’s link or my personal story.

      You can roll your eyes all you want. It just makes you appear as idiotic as you sound.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. So are you claiming you are triracial? African-Jew-American? I think not. You are black, living in the US, practice Judism and have roots in northern Europe, so you say. Which of those are race? Hint, only one…


        1. Thank you for pointing out, again, your ignorance, inability to comprehend words above a third grade level and your hatred for EVERYONE that is different from you.

          I don’t know where you got I claimed to be triracial. I am Jewish by religious and racial heritage and born in America. You seem to have been birthed under the rock of ignorance, hatred, and assholery.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Aren’t you black? You know , as in black “race”? Kind of amusing the ignorance in all the disparaging accusations and you claim my education is 3rd grade?


          2. “You know , as in black “race”? ”

            I’m not sure why you would even think that. Except that you don’t seem to ever think.

            And even if I were, it would make no difference as I am NOT one who converted to Judaism as my religious choice; I was raised in a liberal Jewish home. By genetics, I am 49% Jewish; my RACE. Ethnically I am Ashkenazi.

            If that doesn’t explain it to you clearly, it is further proof that the ignorant choose to stay ignorant.

            I stand corrected on your duction level. It is closer to kindergarten in the land of assholery and hatred.

            Liked by 1 person

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